writer, composer, and director of the hit shows





filmed live at Theatre At The Mill December 2014 © pbm


filmed live at Theatre At The Mill December 2014 © pbm


filmed live at Theatre At The Mill December 2014 © pbm


filmed live at Theatre At The Mill December 2014 © pbm

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"And  Colin" from Tinseltown

This year, the first snowflake of Christmas may not fall ...


Dr. Seuss meets Tim Burton in Tinseltown the sensational Christmas musical adventure from Paul Boyd, commissioned by Northern Ireland's Theatre At The Mill where the show premiered in December 2014.  


Tinseltown is Paul's 23rd (and most recent) original stage musical.  In 2013 Paul wrote and directed the theatre’s acclaimed production Hunchback The Musical alongside his regular collaborators - choreographer Sarah Johnston and musical director Matthew Reeve, both of whom worked with Paul on this new musical. Tinseltown premiered at Theatre at The Mill from 1st - 13th December 2014 and garnered wonderful reviews and audience response.  


Tinseltown tells the story of a secret village called Estincele, hidden in the centre of a dark wood and founded centuries ago by Santa Claus the First to provide everything that the world needs to celebrate Christmas.  But when young Jack, a boy from the real world, stumbles across the village one night, the local residents fear for their very future.  One villager in particular, Estincele's last remaining witch - the evil Foofaleena - sees Jack as her chance to cancel Christmas once and for all, and so it's up to locals Pookie Bogthrollop and Boke Nubbins to convince their new friend Jack that Christmas is worth believing in after all ...


Tinseltown is a full-length musical set in a brand new magical world and featuring a host of original festive songs including the opening number "The Spirit of Christmas", Jack's ballad "No Such Thing", Foofaleena's number "And Colin", and the popular song (as featured on Paul's hit One Night Stand album) "Sound on The Breeze".





★★★★  “Tinseltown” is a quirky, festive feast of musical theatre magic.  The pointy-headed Tinsels of Tinseltown are busy creating Christmas for everyone when Jack, a boy from 'the real world' who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, stumbles into the outer woods and chaos ensues. Jack's arrival in the town disrupts life for the Tinsels and the wicked witch Spirit of the Forest plots to cancel Christmas before the first snowflake falls. Director Paul Boyd, the man behind Molly Wobbly, has brought together a stellar cast for the show, including Christopher Finn, Rhiannon Chesterman, Conleth Kane, Jane Milligan and Nuala McKeever. The former artistic director of the Lyric Theatre, Richard Croxford, plays an absolute blinder as the town mayor, commanding the audience's attention throughout, and special mention also has to go to the wonderful child actors. There is a Tim Burton-esque feel about this dark but funny family-friendly production. It's a fun, feelgood festive tale with lots of song and dance numbers, such as Everyone Needs a Boke at Christmas and Spirit of Christmas. “Tinseltown”, running until December 13, feels like a really big show in a small but perfectly- formed theatre." Belfast Telegraph


"Paul Boyd pits belief against world-weary cynicism in what is sure to be a smash hit musical. 


Throughout his prolific career, composer Paul Boyd has never been averse to a spot of glitter and sparkle, theatrical swagger and good old fashioned mischief.  “Alice the Musical”, “The Tale of the Beauty and the Tail of the Beast”, “Hansel & Grettel”, “Pinocchio”… these memorable titles constitute a mere sampler of the 21 shows that have sprung from his restless, sometimes subversive, creativity.


But, for all the entertainment Boyd has brought to audiences at this time of year, “Tinseltown” marks the first time he has directed his impish sense of fun towards an entirely original, modern-day Christmas fairytale, which comes to Theatre at the Mill, gift-wrapped and gooey, as befits the festive season.


Boyd is on a bit of a roll at present, having recently clocked up no less than five nominations in the Broadway World West End Awards for “Molly Wobbly”, a risqué take on cosmetic surgery, which began life at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and is poised for a big revival at London’s Leicester Square Theatre in January.  Under his unwavering direction, it is not difficult to envisage “Tinseltown” heading off on a similar path.


In keeping with pure fairytale tradition, it tells a story of goodness and light couched in darkness. It is a tale of lost souls and disappeared children, of unquestioning belief versus world-weary cynicism, of friendship, of belonging, of home. At its centre are two troubled boys, adrift in a world which feels alien and unwelcoming.


Long ago in a faraway land, peopled by strange beings with pointy heads and stripey legs, young Colin was adopted into a family of three sisters, with whom he played happily until the day he vanished in the outer woods.  In contrast, Jack is a boy of our own time.


He has run away from home but cannot remember why or even where home is. Jack is an unbeliever. (Children, cover your ears and remember this is a made-up story, but Jack does not believe in Santa Claus nor Christmas!)  He doesn’t believe in anything, really.


As such, he is ripe for the picking by the scheming Foofaleena Betrinklement, the last of Colin's three mystical sisters. Her mission is to convince the people of the real world that Christmas is a spoof, a silly fantasy designed for exploitation and blind faith. Under her spell, Jack comes perilously close to being complicit in its cancellation and the thwarting of a once-in-a-lifetime visit by Santa himself.

It is only when he meets the odd but enchanting Pookie Bogthrollop and her gormless sidekick Boke Nubbins that he slowly comes to recognise that there may just be another way, a door into happiness signalled by the appearance of the first snowflake of winter.


Boyd’s imagined setting is the town of Estincele, the old French word for a spark or a flash - “Tinseltown” to the uninitiated.  David Craig’s three-dimensional design creates a topsy-turvy cluster of half-timbered, mullion-windowed houses surrounded by a thick forest of pine trees. It is a wonderfully atmospheric place, which, under Conleth White’s thoughtful lighting, changes from an idyllic never-never land to a cold, lifeless place devoid of the year’s greatest celebration.


Rhiannon Chesterman and Conleth Kane make a sweet pairing, with Chesterman charming and effortless as the helium-voiced Pookie. As Foofaleena, Jane Milligan - daughter of Spike - reprises the strong stage presence and gutsy singing she brought to her last appearance here as the witch in “Hansel & Grettel”.


Christopher Finn, meanwhile, gives a fine, accomplished performance as Jack, part mini-Chaplin, part Edward Scissorhands, and it is such a treat to see Richard Croxford, liberated from his artistic director role at the Lyric and back on stage as twinkly, confused Mayor Nelson Flung.


Finally, comedian Nuala McKeever doubles up as jolly baker Fertyl Baps and her bearded husband Craggy.


Boyd is definitely on to a winner here.  When “Tinseltown” is at full throttle on a really big stage, nobody should forget that it first saw the light of day in Newtownabbey." Culture NI